Greener Drugs At Swedish Doctors' Fingertips

Green Drugs photo

Little green pills via Deco Fernandez @ flickr.

Sweden has created a new database to comply with European Union legislation and to let doctors see if the drugs they are prescribing might potentially harm the environment. Many antidepressants, painkillers, antibiotics and estrogen end up secreted from humans (or other) bodies orflushed down the toilet, and are released into streams and other waterways. Now Swedes, at least, can check the toxicity, persistence, and bioaccumulative potential of each drug they are about to prescribe.

"Without this information, doctors and patients cannot take environmental aspects into account when choosing between products,"
Lisa Anfält at the Environmental Ministry told EHN.Biodegradable the next word in drugs
The European Union is now requiring drug companies to do an environmental risk assessment of new drugs, though all existing drugs, even the ones that have shown up in waterways, are grandfathered in. Sweden's Janusinfo database takes information from pharmaceutical companies and uses that to guide physicians - estradiol, for example, an estrogen, is classified as a "high" risk to the environment; amoxicilin, a common antibiotic, is considered a moderate risk, and About 60 percent of drugs in the database have been rated, with the entire database to be completed by 2010. Stockholm has a goal to reduce its levels of hazardous medicines in wastewater by 2011. A hospital in Denmark also is working on a green drugs program as part of its environmental policy. In the United States voluntary programs on the consumer side have been more the norm for reducing drugs getting into water.

While some drugs can never be green, drug companies are said to be undertaking the use green chemistry to try to come up with biodegradable pharmaceuticals. Via: Environmental Health News
Read more on pharmaceuticals in water supply
Trace Pharmaceuticals in Water Supply Not a Good Reason to Drink Bottled Water
Drugs in Our Water: Should I Switch to Bottled?
Milwaukee Brews Drug-Free Tap Water: With Ozone

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